The Travelex saga

By | Category: Travel news

The large currency exchange company, Travelex, has been hit by hackers. No just an ordinary hacker that disrupts things but by blackmailers demanding a ransom for unblocking the system.

More comanies are affected by the Travelex problem that you might think.

Travelex is working with the police to try and track down the group behind the attack but as Travelex is also the back office facilitator for currency exchange under the name of Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Asda, Virgin Money and First Direct, the impact is quite wide. The website is still down as it has been for nine days now. That the company hasn’t turned its website back on suggests that this attack is very serious.

Many travellers are affected. Those that booked online in order to firstly get a better deal, as we are always told to do, may experience problems getting the money from outlets.

Those that only deal with the company at Travelex implant stores at airports and on the high street are unaffected.

My concern is not necessarily with Travelex but with the growing number of supposedly secure sites that are being successfully targeted. In the past this has included British Airways, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Hilton and Marriott hotel chains and, earlier this month, a Japanese travel site was hacked.

Those sites which collect super-sensitive data such as credit card and other financial information relating to our transactions might be considered to be more obvious targets for hackers but we probably all need to continue to work with them.

So what can the consumer do other than relying on the organisations themselves to protect us?

Password protection is not enough. Regularly (but not in any pattern) altering passwords is important. Because of the sheer volume of spam that Just about Travel receives – over 750,000 spam messages since we began – using ever-more complicated passwords is important as is not opening attachments even if the sender seems genuine until you have checked with that person that they have sent something to you.

If readers don’t manage their own housekeeping as efficiently as possible it could be that organisations will, in the future, be loath to compensate those affected.

As for Travelex, a lot more answers seem to be wanted by the public.

Update: 8/1/2020 – The BBC is reporting tonight that some banks that receive their foreign monies from Travelex are running out of notes and some have suspended the sales of foreign currency. It mentions Lloyds, (presumably also Bank of Scotland and Halifax as well) Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays as being affected.

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